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complete bio-film article
The more we deal with swimming pools and pool problems, the more we realize that
we're dealing with or treating symptoms rather than the root cause of the cloudy
water, algae, scale build up, etc.
As noted in other articles, there are a
plethora of reasons for cloudy water from poor water chemistry to poor
circulation to improper cleaning habits to environmental causes. And typically,
these causes combine to create the problem.
As we look for the root cause, we see more and more that there are real
"problems" that are often undetected.
you think your pool water is clean and sanitary just because it looks clear,
think again. Yes, you may have shocked the water and added algaecide and even
maintained a good chlorine, bromine biguanide (Soft Swim or Baquacil) level, but
you've only controlled about 1% of the bacteria in your swimming pool! That's
right, just 1%. The other 99% is on every pool surface that you can or can not
see. And most of those places are virtually impossible to reach. What now?
First, what is a biofilm? A biofilm is a
film or large quantity of bacteria that is living in and as a vast colony in the
the "big" world, you could call a coral reef a "biofilm." A biofilm is
self-perpetuating and difficult to remove. Worst of all, biofilm love virtually
any surface, especially wet or damp. But beware, even after drying out, the
biofilm will not necessarily be dead but simply dormant. Did we mention that
biofilms are relatively resistant to chlorine, bromine or other sanitizers?
Second, how do biofilms form? As just mentioned, biofilms form on any
surface. In your pool that means the liner or the pool walls, bottom, ladder
rails, skimmer baskets, ladder treads, filter tank bodies, pump bodies and
impellers, directional returns (eyeballs), heater plumbing, and especially the
piping. There is a 5 steps process as to the formation of biofilms: Attachment,
Colonization, Protection, Growth, and finally what I call Distribution.
Attachment is just that; the bacteria attaches to the surface. It wants a
place to call home and grow. Bacteria want to be in relationships, so that find
a nice surface to settle down and join up with a few of their closest friends.
After attaching to the pool surface with their friends, Colonization
takes place as bacteria multiply and divide, growing in number. According to
studies, it is at this crucial point that this attachment is "irreversible." The
bacteria colony is there to stay unless purposefully removed. This stage is
typically accomplished in a matter of minutes or hours at most.
In the Protection stage, the bacteria colony or biofilm begins protecting
itself against invasion. Invasion from environmental factors, "lethal" chemicals
(such as chlorine or bromine), predators, anything that want to destroy it. In
technical terms, the bacteria begins to excrete a protective coating called an
"exopolysaccharide" film. The film is sticky or slimy and very hearty. Now the
biofilm is ready to experience explosive growth.
Growth of biofilms is like a coral reef, the biofilm gets bigger and
tougher. Super colonies of biofilm are actually absorbing certain chemicals that
were meant to destroy them.
Now we come full circle to Distribution
where these broken parts begin to attach to other surfaces or different parts of
the same surface. And the cycle begins anew.
the way, biofilms are everywhere. Pools, spas, bathrooms, kitchens, the funky
look to your patio furniture, on your teeth (plaque is a biofilm), wherever
there is a surface that can be damp.
What to do? Resistant to chlorine or bromine. Bonds with biguanides. Ionizers
have no effect. You have to remove it. But how?
Learn how to
remove bio-films here.
AquaFinesse Pool Pucks
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